Summary of Significant Accounting Principles
|12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2020
|Accounting Policies [Abstract]
|Summary of Significant Accounting Principles
|Summary of Significant Accounting Principles
Bank of America Corporation, a bank holding company and a financial holding company, provides a diverse range of financial services and products throughout the U.S. and in certain international markets. The term “the Corporation” as used herein may refer to Bank of America Corporation, individually, Bank of America Corporation and its subsidiaries, or certain of Bank of America Corporation’s subsidiaries or affiliates.
Principles of Consolidation and Basis of Presentation
The Consolidated Financial Statements include the accounts of the Corporation and its majority-owned subsidiaries and those variable interest entities (VIEs) where the Corporation is the primary beneficiary. Intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated. Results of operations of acquired companies are included from the dates of acquisition, and for VIEs, from the dates that the Corporation became the primary beneficiary. Assets held in an agency or fiduciary capacity are not included in the Consolidated Financial Statements. The Corporation accounts for investments in companies for which it owns a voting interest and for which it has the ability to exercise significant influence over operating and financing decisions using the equity method of accounting. These investments are included in other assets. Equity method investments are subject to impairment testing, and the Corporation’s proportionate share of income or loss is included in other income.
The preparation of the Consolidated Financial Statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect reported amounts and disclosures. Actual results could materially differ from those estimates and assumptions. Certain prior-period amounts have been reclassified to conform to current period presentation.
New Accounting Standards
Accounting for Financial Instruments -- Credit Losses
On January 1, 2020, the Corporation adopted the new accounting standard that requires the measurement of the allowance for credit losses to be based on management’s best estimate of lifetime expected credit losses (ECL) inherent in the Corporation’s relevant financial assets. Upon adoption of the standard on January 1, 2020, the Corporation recorded a $3.3 billion, or 32 percent, increase to the allowance for credit losses. After adjusting for deferred taxes and other adoption effects, a $2.4 billion decrease was recorded in retained earnings through a cumulative-effect adjustment. Prior to January 1, 2020, the allowance for credit losses was determined based on management’s estimate of probable incurred losses.
Reference Rate Reform
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued a new accounting standard in March 2020, which was subsequently amended in January 2021, related to contracts or hedging relationships that reference London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) or other reference rates that are expected to be discontinued due to reference rate reform. The new standard provides for optional expedients and other guidance regarding the accounting related to modifications of contracts, hedging
relationships and other transactions affected by reference rate reform. The Corporation has elected to retrospectively adopt the new standard as of January 1, 2020. The adoption did not have a material accounting impact on the Corporation’s consolidated financial position or results of operations; however, it did ease the administrative burden in accounting for certain effects of reference rate reform.
Significant Accounting Principles
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents include cash on hand, cash items in the process of collection, cash segregated under federal and other brokerage regulations, and amounts due from correspondent banks, the Federal Reserve Bank and certain non-U.S. central banks. Certain cash balances are restricted as to withdrawal or usage by legally binding contractual agreements or regulatory requirements.
Securities Financing Agreements
Securities borrowed or purchased under agreements to resell and securities loaned or sold under agreements to repurchase (securities financing agreements) are treated as collateralized financing transactions except in instances where the transaction is required to be accounted for as individual sale and purchase transactions. Generally, these agreements are recorded at acquisition or sale price plus accrued interest, except for securities financing agreements that the Corporation accounts for under the fair value option. Changes in the fair value of securities financing agreements that are accounted for under the fair value option are recorded in market making and similar activities in the Consolidated Statement of Income.
The Corporation’s policy is to monitor the market value of the principal amount loaned under resale agreements and obtain collateral from or return collateral pledged to counterparties when appropriate. Securities financing agreements do not create material credit risk due to these collateral provisions; therefore, an allowance for loan losses is not necessary.
In transactions where the Corporation acts as the lender in a securities lending agreement and receives securities that can be pledged or sold as collateral, it recognizes an asset on the Consolidated Balance Sheet at fair value, representing the securities received, and a liability, representing the obligation to return those securities.
The Corporation accepts securities and loans as collateral that it is permitted by contract or practice to sell or repledge. At December 31, 2020 and 2019, the fair value of this collateral was $812.4 billion and $693.0 billion, of which $758.5 billion and $593.8 billion were sold or repledged. The primary source of this collateral is securities borrowed or purchased under agreements to resell.
The Corporation also pledges company-owned securities and loans as collateral in transactions that include repurchase agreements, securities loaned, public and trust deposits, U.S. Treasury tax and loan notes, and short-term borrowings. This collateral, which in some cases can be sold or repledged by the counterparties to the transactions, is parenthetically disclosed on the Consolidated Balance Sheet.
In certain cases, the Corporation has transferred assets to consolidated VIEs where those restricted assets serve as collateral for the interests issued by the VIEs. These assets are included on the Consolidated Balance Sheet in Assets of Consolidated VIEs.
In addition, the Corporation obtains collateral in connection with its derivative contracts. Required collateral levels vary depending on the credit risk rating and the type of counterparty. Generally, the Corporation accepts collateral in the form of cash, U.S. Treasury securities and other marketable securities. Based on provisions contained in master netting agreements, the Corporation nets cash collateral received against derivative assets. The Corporation also pledges collateral on its own derivative positions which can be applied against derivative liabilities.
Financial instruments utilized in trading activities are carried at fair value. Fair value is generally based on quoted market prices for the same or similar assets and liabilities. If these market prices are not available, fair values are estimated based on dealer quotes, pricing models, discounted cash flow methodologies, or similar techniques where the determination of fair value may require significant management judgment or estimation. Realized gains and losses are recorded on a trade-date basis. Realized and unrealized gains and losses are recognized in market making and similar activities.
Derivatives and Hedging Activities
Derivatives are entered into on behalf of customers, for trading or to support risk management activities. Derivatives used in risk management activities include derivatives that are both designated in qualifying accounting hedge relationships and derivatives used to hedge market risks in relationships that are not designated in qualifying accounting hedge relationships (referred to as other risk management activities). The Corporation manages interest rate and foreign currency exchange rate sensitivity predominantly through the use of derivatives. Derivatives utilized by the Corporation include swaps, futures and forward settlement contracts, and option contracts.
All derivatives are recorded on the Consolidated Balance Sheet at fair value, taking into consideration the effects of legally enforceable master netting agreements that allow the Corporation to settle positive and negative positions and offset cash collateral held with the same counterparty on a net basis. For exchange-traded contracts, fair value is based on quoted market prices in active or inactive markets or is derived from observable market-based pricing parameters, similar to those applied to over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives. For non-exchange traded contracts, fair value is based on dealer quotes, pricing models, discounted cash flow methodologies or similar techniques for which the determination of fair value may require significant management judgment or estimation.
Valuations of derivative assets and liabilities reflect the value of the instrument including counterparty credit risk. These values also take into account the Corporation’s own credit standing.
Trading Derivatives and Other Risk Management Activities
Derivatives held for trading purposes are included in derivative assets or derivative liabilities on the Consolidated Balance Sheet with changes in fair value included in market making and similar activities.
Derivatives used for other risk management activities are included in derivative assets or derivative liabilities. Derivatives used in other risk management activities have not been designated in qualifying accounting hedge relationships because they did not qualify or the risk that is being mitigated pertains to an item that is reported at fair value through earnings so that
the effect of measuring the derivative instrument and the asset or liability to which the risk exposure pertains will offset in the Consolidated Statement of Income to the extent effective. The changes in the fair value of derivatives that serve to mitigate certain risks associated with mortgage servicing rights (MSRs), interest rate lock commitments (IRLCs) and first-lien mortgage loans held-for-sale (LHFS) that are originated by the Corporation are recorded in other income. Changes in the fair value of derivatives that serve to mitigate interest rate risk and foreign currency risk are included in market making and similar activities. Credit derivatives are also used by the Corporation to mitigate the risk associated with various credit exposures. The changes in the fair value of these derivatives are included in market making and similar activities and other income.
Derivatives Used For Hedge Accounting Purposes (Accounting Hedges)
For accounting hedges, the Corporation formally documents at inception all relationships between hedging instruments and hedged items, as well as the risk management objectives and strategies for undertaking various accounting hedges. Additionally, the Corporation primarily uses regression analysis at the inception of a hedge and for each reporting period thereafter to assess whether the derivative used in an accounting hedge transaction is expected to be and has been highly effective in offsetting changes in the fair value or cash flows of a hedged item or forecasted transaction. The Corporation discontinues hedge accounting when it is determined that a derivative is not expected to be or has ceased to be highly effective as a hedge, and then reflects changes in fair value of the derivative in earnings after termination of the hedge relationship.
Fair value hedges are used to protect against changes in the fair value of the Corporation’s assets and liabilities that are attributable to interest rate or foreign exchange volatility. Changes in the fair value of derivatives designated as fair value hedges are recorded in earnings, together and in the same income statement line item with changes in the fair value of the related hedged item. If a derivative instrument in a fair value hedge is terminated or the hedge designation removed, the previous adjustments to the carrying value of the hedged asset or liability are subsequently accounted for in the same manner as other components of the carrying value of that asset or liability. For interest-earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities, such adjustments are amortized to earnings over the remaining life of the respective asset or liability.
Cash flow hedges are used primarily to minimize the variability in cash flows of assets and liabilities or forecasted transactions caused by interest rate or foreign exchange rate fluctuations. The Corporation also uses cash flow hedges to hedge the price risk associated with deferred compensation. Changes in the fair value of derivatives used in cash flow hedges are recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (OCI) and are reclassified into the line item in the income statement in which the hedged item is recorded in the same period the hedged item affects earnings. Components of a derivative that are excluded in assessing hedge effectiveness are recorded in the same income statement line item as the hedged item.
Net investment hedges are used to manage the foreign exchange rate sensitivity arising from a net investment in a foreign operation. Changes in the spot prices of derivatives that are designated as net investment hedges of foreign operations are recorded as a component of accumulated OCI. The remaining components of these derivatives are excluded in
assessing hedge effectiveness and are recorded in market making and similar activities.
Debt securities are reported on the Consolidated Balance Sheet at their trade date. Their classification is dependent on the purpose for which the securities were acquired. Debt securities purchased for use in the Corporation’s trading activities are reported in trading account assets at fair value with unrealized gains and losses included in market making and similar activities. Substantially all other debt securities purchased are used in the Corporation’s asset and liability management (ALM) activities and are reported on the Consolidated Balance Sheet as either debt securities carried at fair value or as held-to-maturity (HTM) debt securities. Debt securities carried at fair value are either available-for-sale (AFS) securities with unrealized gains and losses net-of-tax included in accumulated OCI or carried at fair value with unrealized gains and losses reported in market making and similar activities. HTM debt securities are debt securities that management has the intent and ability to hold to maturity and are reported at amortized cost.
The Corporation evaluates each AFS security where the value has declined below amortized cost. If the Corporation intends to sell or believes it is more likely than not that it will be required to sell the debt security, it is written down to fair value through earnings. For AFS debt securities the Corporation intends to hold, the Corporation evaluates the debt securities for ECL except for debt securities that are guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury, U.S. government agencies or sovereign entities of high credit quality where the Corporation applies a zero credit loss assumption. For the remaining AFS debt securities, the Corporation considers qualitative parameters such as internal and external credit ratings and the value of underlying collateral. If an AFS debt security fails any of the qualitative parameters, a discounted cash flow analysis is used by the Corporation to determine if a portion of the unrealized loss is a result of an expected credit loss. The Corporation will then recognize either credit loss expense or a reversal of credit loss expense in other income for the amount necessary to adjust the debt securities valuation allowance to its current estimate of excepted credit losses. Cash flows expected to be collected are estimated using all relevant information available such as remaining payment terms, prepayment speeds, the financial condition of the issuer, expected defaults and the value of the underlying collateral. If any of the decline in fair value is related to market factors, that amount is recognized in accumulated OCI. In certain instances, the credit loss may exceed the total decline in fair value, in which case, the allowance recorded is limited to the difference between the amortized cost and the fair value of the asset.
The Corporation separately evaluates its HTM debt securities for any credit losses, of which substantially all qualify for the zero loss assumption. For the remaining securities, the Corporation performs a discounted cash flow analysis to estimate any credit losses which are then recognized as part of the allowance for credit losses.
Interest on debt securities, including amortization of premiums and accretion of discounts, is included in interest income. Premiums and discounts are amortized or accreted to interest income at a constant effective yield over the contractual lives of the securities. Realized gains and losses from the sales of debt securities are determined using the specific identification method.
Equity securities with readily determinable fair values that are not held for trading purposes are carried at fair value with unrealized gains and losses included in other income. Equity securities that do not have readily determinable fair values are recorded at cost less impairment, if any, plus or minus qualifying observable price changes. These securities are reported in other assets.
Loans and Leases
Loans, with the exception of loans accounted for under the fair value option, are measured at historical cost and reported at their outstanding principal balances net of any unearned income, charge-offs, unamortized deferred fees and costs on originated loans, and for purchased loans, net of any unamortized premiums or discounts. Loan origination fees and certain direct origination costs are deferred and recognized as adjustments to interest income over the lives of the related loans. Unearned income, discounts and premiums are amortized to interest income using a level yield methodology. The Corporation elects to account for certain consumer and commercial loans under the fair value option with interest reported in interest income and changes in fair value reported in market making and similar activities or other income.
Under applicable accounting guidance, for reporting purposes, the loan and lease portfolio is categorized by portfolio segment and, within each portfolio segment, by class of financing receivables. A portfolio segment is defined as the level at which an entity develops and documents a systematic methodology to determine the allowance for credit losses, and a class of financing receivables is defined as the level of disaggregation of portfolio segments based on the initial measurement attribute, risk characteristics and methods for assessing risk. The Corporation’s three portfolio segments are Consumer Real Estate, Credit Card and Other Consumer, and Commercial. The classes within the Consumer Real Estate portfolio segment are residential mortgage and home equity. The classes within the Credit Card and Other Consumer portfolio segment are credit card, direct/indirect consumer and other consumer. The classes within the Commercial portfolio segment are U.S. commercial, non-U.S. commercial, commercial real estate, commercial lease financing and U.S. small business commercial.
The Corporation provides equipment financing to its customers through a variety of lessor arrangements. Direct financing leases and sales-type leases are carried at the aggregate of lease payments receivable plus the estimated residual value of the leased property less unearned income, which is accreted to interest income over the lease terms using methods that approximate the interest method. Operating lease income is recognized on a straight-line basis. The Corporation's lease arrangements generally do not contain non-lease components.
Allowance for Credit Losses
The allowance for credit losses includes both the allowance for loan and lease losses and the reserve for unfunded lending commitments and represents management’s estimate of the ECL in the Corporation’s loan and lease portfolio, excluding loans and unfunded lending commitments accounted for under the fair value option. The ECL on funded consumer and commercial loans and leases is referred to as the allowance for loan and lease losses and is reported separately as a contra-asset to loans and leases on the Consolidated Balance Sheet. The ECL for unfunded lending commitments, including home
equity lines of credit (HELOCs), standby letters of credit (SBLCs) and binding unfunded loan commitments is reported on the Consolidated Balance Sheet in accrued expenses and other liabilities. The provision for credit losses related to the loan and lease portfolio and unfunded lending commitments is reported in the Consolidated Statement of Income.
For loans and leases, the ECL is typically estimated using quantitative methods that consider a variety of factors such as historical loss experience, the current credit quality of the portfolio as well as an economic outlook over the life of the loan. The life of the loan for closed-ended products is based on the contractual maturity of the loan adjusted for any expected prepayments. The contractual maturity includes any extension options that are at the sole discretion of the borrower. For open-ended products (e.g., lines of credit), the ECL is determined based on the maximum repayment term associated with future draws from credit lines unless those lines of credit are unconditionally cancellable (e.g., credit cards) in which case the Corporation does not record any allowance.
In its loss forecasting framework, the Corporation incorporates forward-looking information through the use of macroeconomic scenarios applied over the forecasted life of the assets. These macroeconomic scenarios include variables that have historically been key drivers of increases and decreases in credit losses. These variables include, but are not limited to, unemployment rates, real estate prices, gross domestic product levels and corporate bond spreads. As any one economic outlook is inherently uncertain, the Corporation leverages multiple scenarios. The scenarios that are chosen each quarter and the weighting given to each scenario depend on a variety of factors including recent economic events, leading economic indicators, views of internal and third-party economists and industry trends.
The estimate of credit losses includes expected recoveries of amounts previously charged off (i.e., negative allowance). If a loan has been charged off, the expected cash flows on the loan are not limited by the current amortized cost balance. Instead, expected cash flows can be assumed up to the unpaid principal balance immediately prior to the charge-off.
The allowance for loan and lease losses for troubled debt restructurings (TDR) is measured based on the present value of projected future lifetime principal and interest cash flows discounted at the loan’s original effective interest rate, or in cases where foreclosure is probable or the loan is collateral dependent, at the loan’s collateral value or its observable market price, if available. The measurement of ECL for the renegotiated consumer credit card TDR portfolio is based on the present value of projected cash flows discounted using the average TDR portfolio contractual interest rate, excluding promotionally priced loans, in effect prior to restructuring. Projected cash flows for TDRs use the same economic outlook as discussed above. For purposes of computing this specific loss component of the allowance, larger impaired loans are evaluated individually and smaller impaired loans are evaluated as a pool.
Also included in the allowance for loan and lease losses are qualitative reserves to cover losses that are expected but, in the Corporation's assessment, may not be adequately reflected in the quantitative methods or the economic assumptions described above. For example, factors that the Corporation considers include changes in lending policies and procedures, business conditions, the nature and size of the portfolio, portfolio concentrations, the volume and severity of past due loans and nonaccrual loans, the effect of external factors such as competition, and legal and regulatory requirements, among
others. Further, the Corporation considers the inherent uncertainty in quantitative models that are built on historical data.
With the exception of the Corporation's credit card portfolio, the Corporation does not include reserves for interest receivable in the measurement of the allowance for credit losses as the Corporation generally classifies consumer loans as nonperforming at 90 days past due and reverses interest income for these loans at that time. For credit card loans, the Corporation reserves for interest and fees as part of the allowance for loan and lease losses. Upon charge-off of a credit card loan, the Corporation reverses the interest and fee income against the income statement line item where it was originally recorded.
The Corporation has identified the following three portfolio segments and measures the allowance for credit losses using the following methods.
Consumer Real Estate
To estimate ECL for consumer loans secured by residential real estate, the Corporation estimates the number of loans that will default over the life of the existing portfolio, after factoring in estimated prepayments, using quantitative modeling methodologies. The attributes that are most significant in estimating the Corporation’s ECL include refreshed loan-to-value (LTV) or, in the case of a subordinated lien, refreshed combined LTV (CLTV), borrower credit score, months since origination and geography, all of which are further broken down by present collection status (whether the loan is current, delinquent, in default, or in bankruptcy). The estimates are based on the Corporation’s historical experience with the loan portfolio, adjusted to reflect the economic outlook. The outlook on the unemployment rate and consumer real estate prices are key factors that impact the frequency and severity of loss estimates. The Corporation does not reserve for credit losses on the unpaid principal balance of loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and long-term standby loans, as these loans are fully insured. The Corporation records a reserve for unfunded lending commitments for the ECL associated with the undrawn portion of the Corporation’s HELOCs, which can only be canceled by the Corporation if certain criteria are met. The ECL associated with these unfunded lending commitments is calculated using the same models and methodologies noted above and incorporate utilization assumptions at time of default.
For loans that are more than 180 days past due and collateral-dependent TDRs, the Corporation bases the allowance on the estimated fair value of the underlying collateral as of the reporting date less costs to sell. The fair value of the collateral securing these loans is generally determined using an automated valuation model (AVM) that estimates the value of a property by reference to market data including sales of comparable properties and price trends specific to the Metropolitan Statistical Area in which the property being valued is located. In the event that an AVM value is not available, the Corporation utilizes publicized indices or if these methods provide less reliable valuations, the Corporation uses appraisals or broker price opinions to estimate the fair value of the collateral. While there is inherent imprecision in these valuations, the Corporation believes that they are representative of this portfolio in the aggregate.
For loans that are more than 180 days past due and collateral-dependent TDRs, with the exception of the Corporation’s fully insured portfolio, the outstanding balance of loans that is in excess of the estimated property value after
adjusting for costs to sell is charged off. If the estimated property value decreases in periods subsequent to the initial charge-off, the Corporation will record an additional charge-off; however, if the value increases in periods subsequent to the charge-off, the Corporation will adjust the allowance to account for the increase but not to a level above the cumulative charge-off amount.
Credit Cards and Other Consumer
Credit cards are revolving lines of credit without a defined maturity date. The estimated life of a credit card receivable is determined by estimating the amount and timing of expected future payments (e.g., borrowers making full payments, minimum payments or somewhere in between) that it will take for a receivable balance to pay off. The ECL on the future payments incorporates the spending behavior of a borrower through time using key borrower-specific factors and the economic outlook described above. The Corporation applies all expected payments in accordance with the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (i.e., paying down the highest interest rate bucket first). Then forecasted future payments are prioritized to pay off the oldest balance until it is brought to zero or an expected charge-off amount. Unemployment rate outlook, borrower credit score, delinquency status and historical payment behavior are all key inputs into the credit card receivable loss forecasting model. Future draws on the credit card lines are excluded from the ECL as they are unconditionally cancellable.
The ECL for the consumer vehicle lending portfolio is also determined using quantitative methods supplemented with qualitative analysis. The quantitative model estimates ECL giving consideration to key borrower and loan characteristics such as delinquency status, borrower credit score, LTV ratio, underlying collateral type and collateral value.
The ECL on commercial loans is forecasted using models that estimate credit losses over the loan’s contractual life at an individual loan level. The models use the contractual terms to forecast future principal cash flows while also considering expected prepayments. For open-ended commitments such as revolving lines of credit, changes in funded balance are captured by forecasting a borrower’s draw and payment behavior over the remaining life of the commitment. For loans collateralized with commercial real estate and for which the underlying asset is the primary source of repayment, the loss forecasting models consider key loan and customer attributes such as LTV ratio, net operating income and debt service coverage, and captures variations in behavior according to property type and region. The outlook on the unemployment rate, gross domestic product, and forecasted real estate prices are utilized to determine indicators such as rent levels and vacancy rates, which impact the ECL estimate. For all other commercial loans and leases, the loss forecasting model determines the probabilities of transition to different credit risk ratings or default at each point over the life of the asset based on the borrower’s current credit risk rating, industry sector, size of the exposure and the geographic market. The severity of loss is determined based on the type of collateral securing the exposure, the size of the exposure, the borrower’s industry sector, any guarantors and the geographic market. Assumptions of expected loss are conditioned to the economic outlook, and the model considers key economic variables such as unemployment rate, gross domestic product, corporate bond spreads, real estate and other asset prices and equity market returns.
In addition to the allowance for loan and lease losses, the Corporation also estimates ECL related to unfunded lending commitments such as letters of credit, financial guarantees, unfunded bankers acceptances and binding loan commitments, excluding commitments accounted for under the fair value option. Reserves are estimated for the unfunded exposure using the same models and methodologies as the funded exposure and are reported as reserves for unfunded lending commitments.
Nonperforming Loans and Leases, Charge-offs and Delinquencies
Nonperforming loans and leases generally include loans and leases that have been placed on nonaccrual status. Loans accounted for under the fair value option and LHFS are not reported as nonperforming.
In accordance with the Corporation’s policies, consumer real estate-secured loans, including residential mortgages and home equity loans, are generally placed on nonaccrual status and classified as nonperforming at 90 days past due unless repayment of the loan is insured by the FHA or through individually insured long-term standby agreements with Fannie Mae (FNMA) or Freddie Mac (FHLMC) (the fully-insured portfolio). Residential mortgage loans in the fully-insured portfolio are not placed on nonaccrual status and, therefore, are not reported as nonperforming. Junior-lien home equity loans are placed on nonaccrual status and classified as nonperforming when the underlying first-lien mortgage loan becomes 90 days past due even if the junior-lien loan is current. The outstanding balance of real estate-secured loans that is in excess of the estimated property value less costs to sell is charged off no later than the end of the month in which the loan becomes 180 days past due unless the loan is fully insured, or for loans in bankruptcy, within 60 days of receipt of notification of filing, with the remaining balance classified as nonperforming.
Consumer loans secured by personal property, credit card loans and other unsecured consumer loans are not placed on nonaccrual status prior to charge-off and, therefore, are not reported as nonperforming loans, except for certain secured consumer loans, including those that have been modified in a TDR. Personal property-secured loans (including auto loans) are charged off to collateral value no later than the end of the month in which the account becomes 120 days past due, or upon repossession of an auto or, for loans in bankruptcy, within 60 days of receipt of notification of filing. Credit card and other unsecured customer loans are charged off no later than the end of the month in which the account becomes 180 days past due, within 60 days after receipt of notification of death or bankruptcy, or upon confirmation of fraud.
Commercial loans and leases, excluding business card loans, that are past due 90 days or more as to principal or interest, or where reasonable doubt exists as to timely collection, including loans that are individually identified as being impaired, are generally placed on nonaccrual status and classified as nonperforming unless well-secured and in the process of collection.
Business card loans are charged off in the same manner as consumer credit card loans. Other commercial loans and leases are generally charged off when all or a portion of the principal amount is determined to be uncollectible.
The entire balance of a consumer loan or commercial loan or lease is contractually delinquent if the minimum payment is not received by the specified due date on the customer’s billing statement. Interest and fees continue to accrue on past due loans and leases until the date the loan is placed on nonaccrual
status, if applicable. Accrued interest receivable is reversed when loans and leases are placed on nonaccrual status. Interest collections on nonaccruing loans and leases for which the ultimate collectability of principal is uncertain are applied as principal reductions; otherwise, such collections are credited to income when received. Loans and leases may be restored to accrual status when all principal and interest is current and full repayment of the remaining contractual principal and interest is expected.
Troubled Debt Restructurings
Consumer and commercial loans and leases whose contractual terms have been restructured in a manner that grants a concession to a borrower experiencing financial difficulties are classified as TDRs. Concessions could include a reduction in the interest rate to a rate that is below market on the loan, payment extensions, forgiveness of principal, forbearance or other actions designed to maximize collections. Loans that are carried at fair value and LHFS are not classified as TDRs.
Loans and leases whose contractual terms have been modified in a TDR and are current at the time of restructuring may remain on accrual status if there is demonstrated performance prior to the restructuring and payment in full under the restructured terms is expected. Otherwise, the loans are placed on nonaccrual status and reported as nonperforming, except for fully-insured consumer real estate loans, until there is sustained repayment performance for a reasonable period, generally six months. If accruing TDRs cease to perform in accordance with their modified contractual terms, they are placed on nonaccrual status and reported as nonperforming TDRs.
Secured consumer loans that have been discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have not been reaffirmed by the borrower are classified as TDRs at the time of discharge. Such loans are placed on nonaccrual status and written down to the estimated collateral value less costs to sell no later than at the time of discharge. If these loans are contractually current, interest collections are generally recorded in interest income on a cash basis. Consumer real estate-secured loans for which a binding offer to restructure has been extended are also classified as TDRs. Credit card and other unsecured consumer loans that have been renegotiated in a TDR generally remain on accrual status until the loan is either paid in full or charged off, which occurs no later than the end of the month in which the loan becomes 180 days past due or, for loans that have been placed on a fixed payment plan, 120 days past due.
A loan that had previously been modified in a TDR and is subsequently refinanced under current underwriting standards at a market rate with no concessionary terms is accounted for as a new loan and is no longer reported as a TDR.
The Corporation has implemented various consumer and commercial loan modification programs to provide its borrowers relief from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (the pandemic). In accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the Corporation has elected to not apply TDR classification to eligible COVID-19 related loan modifications that were performed after March 1, 2020 to loans that were current as of December 31, 2019. Accordingly, these restructurings are not classified as TDRs. The availability of this election expires upon the earlier of January 1, 2022 or 60 days after the national emergency related to COVID-19 terminates. In
addition, for loans modified in response to the pandemic that do not meet the above criteria (e.g., current payment status at December 31, 2019), the Corporation is applying the guidance included in an interagency statement issued by the bank regulatory agencies. This guidance states that loan modifications performed in light of the pandemic, including loan payment deferrals that are up to six months in duration, that were granted to borrowers who were current as of the implementation date of a loan modification program or modifications granted under government mandated modification programs, are not TDRs. For loan modifications that include a payment deferral and are not TDRs, the borrowers' past due and nonaccrual status have not been impacted during the deferral period. The Corporation has continued to accrue interest during the deferral period using a constant effective yield method. For most mortgage, HELOC and commercial loan modifications, the contractual interest that accrued during the deferral period is payable at the maturity of the loan. The Corporation includes these amounts with the unpaid principal balance when computing its allowance for credit losses. Amounts that are subsequently deemed uncollectible are written off against the allowance for credit losses.
Loans that the Corporation intends to sell in the foreseeable future, including residential mortgages, loan syndications, and to a lesser degree, commercial real estate, consumer finance and other loans, are reported as LHFS and are carried at the lower of aggregate cost or fair value. The Corporation accounts for certain LHFS, including residential mortgage LHFS, under the fair value option. Loan origination costs for LHFS carried at the lower of cost or fair value are capitalized as part of the carrying value of the loans and, upon the sale of a loan, are recognized as part of the gain or loss in noninterest income. LHFS that are on nonaccrual status and are reported as nonperforming, as defined in the policy herein, are reported separately from nonperforming loans and leases.
Premises and Equipment
Premises and equipment are carried at cost less accumulated depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization are recognized using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets. Estimated lives range up to 40 years for buildings, up to 12 years for furniture and equipment, and the shorter of lease term or estimated useful life for leasehold improvements.
For the Corporation’s financial assets that are measured at amortized cost and are not included in debt securities or loans and leases on the Consolidated Balance Sheet, the Corporation evaluates these assets for ECL using various techniques. For assets that are subject to collateral maintenance provisions, including federal funds sold and securities borrowed or purchased under agreements to resell, where the collateral consists of daily margining of liquid and marketable assets where the margining is expected to be maintained into the foreseeable future, the expected losses are assumed to be zero. For all other assets, the Corporation performs qualitative analyses, including consideration of historical losses and current economic conditions, to estimate any ECL which are then included in a valuation account that is recorded as a contra-asset against the amortized cost basis of the financial asset.
Substantially all of the Corporation’s lessee arrangements are operating leases. Under these arrangements, the Corporation records right-of-use assets and lease liabilities at lease commencement. Right-of-use assets are reported in other assets on the Consolidated Balance Sheet, and the related lease liabilities are reported in accrued expenses and other liabilities. All leases are recorded on the Consolidated Balance Sheet except leases with an initial term less than 12 months for which the Corporation made the short-term lease election. Lease expense is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term and is recorded in occupancy and equipment expense in the Consolidated Statement of Income.
The Corporation made an accounting policy election not to separate lease and non-lease components of a contract that is or contains a lease for its real estate and equipment leases. As such, lease payments represent payments on both lease and non-lease components. At lease commencement, lease liabilities are recognized based on the present value of the remaining lease payments and discounted using the Corporation’s incremental borrowing rate. Right-of-use assets initially equal the lease liability, adjusted for any lease payments made prior to lease commencement and for any lease incentives.
Goodwill and Intangible Assets
Goodwill is the purchase premium after adjusting for the fair value of net assets acquired. Goodwill is not amortized but is reviewed for potential impairment on an annual basis, or when events or circumstances indicate a potential impairment, at the reporting unit level. A reporting unit is a business segment or one level below a business segment.
The Corporation assesses the fair value of each reporting unit against its carrying value, including goodwill, as measured by allocated equity. For purposes of goodwill impairment testing, the Corporation utilizes allocated equity as a proxy for the carrying value of its reporting units. Allocated equity in the reporting units is comprised of allocated capital plus capital for the portion of goodwill and intangibles specifically assigned to the reporting unit.
In performing its goodwill impairment testing, the Corporation first assesses qualitative factors to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value. Qualitative factors include, among other things, macroeconomic conditions, industry and market considerations, financial performance of the respective reporting unit and other relevant entity- and reporting-unit specific considerations.
If the Corporation concludes it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value, a quantitative assessment is performed. The Corporation has an unconditional option to bypass the qualitative assessment for any reporting unit in any period and proceed directly to performing the quantitative goodwill impairment test. The Corporation may resume performing the qualitative assessment in any subsequent period.
When performing the quantitative assessment, if the fair value of the reporting unit exceeds its carrying value, goodwill of the reporting unit would not be considered impaired. If the carrying value of the reporting unit exceeds its fair value, a goodwill impairment loss would be recognized for the amount by which the reporting unit’s allocated equity exceeds its fair value. An impairment loss recognized cannot exceed the amount of goodwill assigned to a reporting unit. An impairment loss establishes a new basis in the goodwill, and subsequent
reversals of goodwill impairment losses are not permitted under applicable accounting guidance.
For intangible assets subject to amortization, an impairment loss is recognized if the carrying value of the intangible asset is not recoverable and exceeds fair value. The carrying value of the intangible asset is considered not recoverable if it exceeds the sum of the undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use of the asset. Intangible assets deemed to have indefinite useful lives are not subject to amortization. An impairment loss is recognized if the carrying value of the intangible asset with an indefinite life exceeds its fair value.
Variable Interest Entities
A VIE is an entity that lacks equity investors or whose equity investors do not have a controlling financial interest in the entity through their equity investments. The Corporation consolidates a VIE if it has both the power to direct the activities of the VIE that most significantly impact the VIE’s economic performance and an obligation to absorb losses or the right to receive benefits that could potentially be significant to the VIE. On a quarterly basis, the Corporation reassesses its involvement with the VIE and evaluates the impact of changes in governing documents and its financial interests in the VIE. The consolidation status of the VIEs with which the Corporation is involved may change as a result of such reassessments.
The Corporation primarily uses VIEs for its securitization activities, in which the Corporation transfers whole loans or debt securities into a trust or other vehicle. When the Corporation is the servicer of whole loans held in a securitization trust, including non-agency residential mortgages, home equity loans, credit cards, and other loans, the Corporation has the power to direct the most significant activities of the trust. The Corporation generally does not have the power to direct the most significant activities of a residential mortgage agency trust except in certain circumstances in which the Corporation holds substantially all of the issued securities and has the unilateral right to liquidate the trust. The power to direct the most significant activities of a commercial mortgage securitization trust is typically held by the special servicer or by the party holding specific subordinate securities which embody certain controlling rights. The Corporation consolidates a whole-loan securitization trust if it has the power to direct the most significant activities and also holds securities issued by the trust or has other contractual arrangements, other than standard representations and warranties, that could potentially be significant to the trust.
The Corporation may also transfer trading account securities and AFS securities into municipal bond or resecuritization trusts. The Corporation consolidates a municipal bond or resecuritization trust if it has control over the ongoing activities of the trust such as the remarketing of the trust’s liabilities or, if there are no ongoing activities, sole discretion over the design of the trust, including the identification of securities to be transferred in and the structure of securities to be issued, and also retains securities or has liquidity or other commitments that could potentially be significant to the trust. The Corporation does not consolidate a municipal bond or resecuritization trust if one or a limited number of third-party investors share responsibility for the design of the trust or have control over the significant activities of the trust through liquidation or other substantive rights.
Other VIEs used by the Corporation include collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), investment vehicles created on behalf of customers and other investment vehicles. The Corporation does not routinely serve as collateral manager for CDOs and, therefore, does not typically have the power to direct the
activities that most significantly impact the economic performance of a CDO. However, following an event of default, if the Corporation is a majority holder of senior securities issued by a CDO and acquires the power to manage its assets, the Corporation consolidates the CDO.
The Corporation consolidates a customer or other investment vehicle if it has control over the initial design of the vehicle or manages the assets in the vehicle and also absorbs potentially significant gains or losses through an investment in the vehicle, derivative contracts or other arrangements. The Corporation does not consolidate an investment vehicle if a single investor controlled the initial design of the vehicle or manages the assets in the vehicles or if the Corporation does not have a variable interest that could potentially be significant to the vehicle.
Retained interests in securitized assets are initially recorded at fair value. In addition, the Corporation may invest in debt securities issued by unconsolidated VIEs. Fair values of these debt securities, which are classified as trading account assets, debt securities carried at fair value or HTM securities, are based primarily on quoted market prices in active or inactive markets. Generally, quoted market prices for retained residual interests are not available; therefore, the Corporation estimates fair values based on the present value of the associated expected future cash flows.
The Corporation measures the fair values of its assets and liabilities, where applicable, in accordance with accounting guidance that requires an entity to base fair value on exit price. Under this guidance, an entity is required to maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs in measuring fair value. Under applicable accounting standards, fair value measurements are categorized into one of three levels based on the inputs to the valuation technique with the highest priority given to unadjusted quoted prices in active markets and the lowest priority given to unobservable inputs. The Corporation categorizes its fair value measurements of financial instruments based on this three-level hierarchy.
Level 1Unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities. Level 1 assets and liabilities include debt and equity securities and derivative contracts that are traded in an active exchange market, as well as certain U.S. Treasury securities that are highly liquid and are actively traded in OTC markets.
Level 2Observable inputs other than Level 1 prices, such as quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities, quoted prices in markets that are not active, or other inputs that are observable or can be corroborated by observable market data for substantially the full term of the assets or liabilities. Level 2 assets and liabilities include debt securities with quoted prices that are traded less frequently than exchange-traded instruments and derivative contracts where fair value is determined using a pricing model with inputs that are observable in the market or can be derived principally from or corroborated by observable market data. This category generally includes U.S. government and agency mortgage-backed (MBS) and asset-backed securities (ABS), corporate debt securities, derivative contracts, certain loans and LHFS.
Level 3Unobservable inputs that are supported by little or no market activity and that are significant to the overall
fair value of the assets or liabilities. Level 3 assets and liabilities include financial instruments for which the determination of fair value requires significant management judgment or estimation. The fair value for such assets and liabilities is generally determined using pricing models, discounted cash flow methodologies or similar techniques that incorporate the assumptions a market participant would use in pricing the asset or liability. This category generally includes retained residual interests in securitizations, consumer MSRs, certain ABS, highly structured, complex or long-dated derivative contracts, certain loans and LHFS, IRLCs and certain CDOs where independent pricing information cannot be obtained for a significant portion of the underlying assets.
There are two components of income tax expense: current and deferred. Current income tax expense reflects taxes to be paid or refunded for the current period. Deferred income tax expense results from changes in deferred tax assets and liabilities between periods. These gross deferred tax assets and liabilities represent decreases or increases in taxes expected to be paid in the future because of future reversals of temporary differences in the bases of assets and liabilities as measured by tax laws and their bases as reported in the financial statements. Deferred tax assets are also recognized for tax attributes such as net operating loss carryforwards and tax credit carryforwards. Valuation allowances are recorded to reduce deferred tax assets to the amounts management concludes are more likely than not to be realized.
Income tax benefits are recognized and measured based upon a two-step model: first, a tax position must be more likely than not to be sustained based solely on its technical merits in order to be recognized, and second, the benefit is measured as the largest dollar amount of that position that is more likely than not to be sustained upon settlement. The difference between the benefit recognized and the tax benefit claimed on a tax return is referred to as an unrecognized tax benefit. The Corporation records income tax-related interest and penalties, if applicable, within income tax expense.
The following summarizes the Corporation’s revenue recognition accounting policies for certain noninterest income activities.
Card income includes annual, late and over-limit fees as well as interchange, cash advances and other miscellaneous items from credit and debit card transactions and from processing card transactions for merchants. Card income is presented net of direct costs. Interchange fees are recognized upon settlement of the credit and debit card payment transactions and are generally determined on a percentage basis for credit cards and fixed rates for debit cards based on the corresponding payment network’s rates. Substantially all card fees are recognized at the transaction date, except for certain time-based fees such as annual fees, which are recognized over 12 months. Fees charged to cardholders and merchants that are estimated to be uncollectible are reserved in the allowance for loan and lease losses. Included in direct cost are rewards and credit card partner payments. Rewards paid to cardholders are related to points earned by the cardholder that can be redeemed for a broad range of rewards including cash, travel and gift cards. The points to be redeemed are estimated based on past redemption behavior, card product type, account
transaction activity and other historical card performance. The liability is reduced as the points are redeemed. The Corporation also makes payments to credit card partners. The payments are based on revenue-sharing agreements that are generally driven by cardholder transactions and partner sales volumes. As part of the revenue-sharing agreements, the credit card partner provides the Corporation exclusive rights to market to the credit card partner’s members or customers on behalf of the Corporation.
Service charges include deposit and lending-related fees. Deposit-related fees consist of fees earned on consumer and commercial deposit activities and are generally recognized when the transactions occur or as the service is performed. Consumer fees are earned on consumer deposit accounts for account maintenance and various transaction-based services, such as ATM transactions, wire transfer activities, check and money order processing and insufficient funds/overdraft transactions. Commercial deposit-related fees are from the Corporation’s Global Transaction Services business and consist of commercial deposit and treasury management services, including account maintenance and other services, such as payroll, sweep account and other cash management services. Lending-related fees generally represent transactional fees earned from certain loan commitments, financial guarantees and SBLCs.
Investment and Brokerage Services
Investment and brokerage services consist of asset management and brokerage fees. Asset management fees are earned from the management of client assets under advisory agreements or the full discretion of the Corporation’s financial advisors (collectively referred to as assets under management (AUM)). Asset management fees are earned as a percentage of the client’s AUM and generally range from 50 basis points (bps) to 150 bps of the AUM. In cases where a third party is used to obtain a client’s investment allocation, the fee remitted to the third party is recorded net and is not reflected in the transaction price, as the Corporation is an agent for those services.
Brokerage fees include income earned from transaction-based services that are performed as part of investment management services and are based on a fixed price per unit or as a percentage of the total transaction amount. Brokerage fees also include distribution fees and sales commissions that are primarily in the Global Wealth & Investment Management (GWIM) segment and are earned over time. In addition, primarily in the Global Markets segment, brokerage fees are earned when the Corporation fills customer orders to buy or sell various financial products or when it acknowledges, affirms, settles and clears transactions and/or submits trade information to the appropriate clearing broker. Certain customers pay brokerage, clearing and/or exchange fees imposed by relevant regulatory bodies or exchanges in order to execute or clear trades. These fees are recorded net and are not reflected in the transaction price, as the Corporation is an agent for those services.
Investment Banking Income
Investment banking income includes underwriting income and financial advisory services income. Underwriting consists of fees earned for the placement of a customer’s debt or equity securities. The revenue is generally earned based on a percentage of the fixed number of shares or principal placed. Once the number of shares or notes is determined and the service is completed, the underwriting fees are recognized. The Corporation incurs certain out-of-pocket expenses, such as legal costs, in performing these services. These expenses are
recovered through the revenue the Corporation earns from the customer and are included in operating expenses. Syndication fees represent fees earned as the agent or lead lender responsible for structuring, arranging and administering a loan syndication.
Financial advisory services consist of fees earned for assisting clients with transactions related to mergers and acquisitions and financial restructurings. Revenue varies depending on the size of the transaction and scope of services performed and is generally contingent on successful completion of the transaction. Revenue is typically recognized once the transaction is completed and all services have been rendered. Additionally, the Corporation may earn a fixed fee in merger and acquisition transactions to provide a fairness opinion, with the fees recognized when the opinion is delivered to the client.
Other Revenue Measurement and Recognition Policies
The Corporation did not disclose the value of any open performance obligations at December 31, 2020, as its contracts with customers generally have a fixed term that is less than one year, an open term with a cancellation period that is less than one year, or provisions that allow the Corporation to recognize revenue at the amount it has the right to invoice.
Earnings Per Common Share
Earnings per common share (EPS) is computed by dividing net income allocated to common shareholders by the weighted-average common shares outstanding, excluding unvested common shares subject to repurchase or cancellation. Net income allocated to common shareholders is net income adjusted for preferred stock dividends including dividends declared, accretion of discounts on preferred stock including accelerated accretion when preferred stock is repaid early, and cumulative dividends related to the current dividend period that have not been declared as of period end, less income allocated to participating securities. Diluted EPS is computed by dividing income allocated to common shareholders plus dividends on dilutive convertible preferred stock and preferred stock that can be tendered to exercise warrants, by the weighted-average common shares outstanding plus amounts representing the dilutive effect of stock options outstanding, restricted stock, restricted stock units (RSUs), outstanding warrants and the dilution resulting from the conversion of convertible preferred stock, if applicable.
Foreign Currency Translation
Assets, liabilities and operations of foreign branches and subsidiaries are recorded based on the functional currency of each entity. When the functional currency of a foreign operation is the local currency, the assets, liabilities and operations are translated, for consolidation purposes, from the local currency to the U.S. dollar reporting currency at period-end rates for assets and liabilities and generally at average rates for results of operations. The resulting unrealized gains and losses are reported as a component of accumulated OCI, net-of-tax. When the foreign entity’s functional currency is the U.S. dollar, the resulting remeasurement gains or losses on foreign currency-denominated assets or liabilities are included in earnings.
Paycheck Protection Program
The Corporation is participating in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is a loan program that originated from the CARES Act and was subsequently expanded by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. The PPP is designed to provide U.S. small businesses with cash-flow assistance through loans fully guaranteed by the Small